By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
ISLA MUJERES — I’m in love with guacamole.
Not just any old guacamole (I’m not that type of girl). I’m talking about the fresh, creamy deliciousness that is the green apple guacamole at Mango Café.
Our affair started innocently enough, with a chance meeting at a neighborhood joint, in this case on Isla Mujeres, the boho-beachy island three miles off Cancun’s coast.
My companions and I had come in search of an authentic Mexican brekkie, and one hungry hipster had Foursquare-d her way into finding a recommendation for Mango’s green apple guac. It wasn’t on the menu but scores of reviewers had raved about it so ordering was a no-brainer. And as soon as it came to the table I knew we were made for each other.
The green mountain of goodness glistened seductively in the morning sun streaming through the restaurant’s wooden shutters, its foothills embellished with crisp and puffy tortilla chips. Closer inspection revealed small chunks of green apple and morsels of avocado, as yellow as sunshine. It was love at first bite: The comforting creaminess of the avocado and the satisfying crunch of the apple, enlivened with the tang of cilantro and lime juice and tempered with a just-one-more-spoonful sweetness I couldn’t quite place.
“It’s honey,” Mango’s owner and chef, Polo Avila, confessed. “My menu is all about using fusing local Caribbean and Mexican flavors, so my guacamole starts with fresh Mexican avocado and I add local honey to give it a flavor you won’t find anywhere else.”
Polo went on to tell me more about his five-year-old enterprise and to walk me around the colorfully casual interior, decorated with paintings by local artists, old license plates, a guitar and a wooden cactus. But, truth be told, I wasn’t really hearing him. I only had eyes for that green apple guac, which, in my absence, was being attacked with abandon by my ravenous crew.
By the time I returned to the table all that remained was a dusting of tortilla chip crumbs and a few yellow-green smears, evidence of what might have been. Alas, my romance with the gotta-have-it guacamole was cut short. Perhaps we’ll be reunited on my next Mexico jaunt; I don’t know. But what I do know for sure: Like every great holiday romance, it was an affair to remember.